I finally had to have a spinal fusion and she has not helped me one day. She leaves early in the morning, and returns late at night as well as early mornings most days. Thank God I raised my 15-yr. old to show passion and concern for others, because if it were not for her help with our 2, 5, and 7 yr. old children, I don't know how I could have made it through.
Personal Injury Lawyer
I am sorry to hear about your car accident and the impending divorce. The answer to your question is a bit complicated and very factually specific, but I want to let you know the general status of the law and some considerations you should keep in mind. If you have an attorney representing you in the auto accident, I highly recommend that you have a conversation with him or her regarding this issue as it is a fairly common one that comes up on personal injury cases. Under Georgia law your wife has a loss of consortium claim for the loss of society, companionship, services, etc. against the at fault party for the injuries you received in the car wreck. This claim is separate from your personal injury claim. Typically this means that if you settle your personal injury claim, the insurance company will require that she sign the settlement release in order for them to release the funds.
By its nature the loss of consortium claim assumes that you and your wife are in a "normal" marriage in which you are a partnership in the trials and tribulations of life, i.e. she has lost the benefit of your relationship and is contributing to helping you heal. If your are going through a divorce, have been separated, or she has not been helpful to you in any way, I would argue that the value of her loss of consortium claim is severly compromised and may be non-existent. Therefore, I think you can go about this one of two ways. First, argue to the insurance company at the settlement of your claim that you are only settling your personal injury claim and that you are not settling any loss of consortium claim. Many times the insurance company will not agree to this, but it is worth a shot. Second, you can work out a deal with your spouse in which you agree to pay her some small sum in order to sign the release. I would recommend that your wife obtain counsel in regards to this issue. If you and your wife agree to the proper split then that sum can be paid to her out of any settlement. I am not sure of the specific facts of your case, but there may be some other options available to you depending on your circumstances.
I wish you all the best in the resolution of this matter.
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Car accidents are usually thought as separate as it was for you not your wife unless you commingled the funds.
BA, Arnold & Wadsworth
Divorce / Separation Lawyer
Todd has given you a detailed answer. Just to add a bit to his - hopefully you have counsel in your personal injury and your divorce case. Be sure the two lawyers work together. Odds are that eventually most of that claim will be treated as your separate property but the coordination of the two cases is important.